Home league match played on 22 April 2018.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

It was a sweltering hot day as Greshams met at the well appointed Rushmore Road ground for their away game against Martlesham Old Boys. In the home fixture Greshams had nicked a last minute win through a rare goal from Ollie, so this was going to be a test off their title winning credentials. Their task was not made easier by having a bare 11 on the hottest day of the season so far. Despite being distracted by some noisy farts from the Groggyman, Cashen battled through to name the starting eleven which was Rob in goals; a back four of Ollie, Hamblin, Groggy and Cash; in midfield Tom, Heady, Rich Minns and Nathan; up front Chris and the Romanian Exocet.

With the pitch baked hard in the sun, the ball was bouncing around making control difficult. However Greshams were quickly into their rhythm, building some good attacks, particularly down the right hand side where Ollie and Tom were seeing plenty of the ball. It was no great surprise when they took an early lead. Tom showed some great skill to wriggle free in the area and get to the bye line, from where he dinked a perfect cross beyond the reach of the keeper. It was met by a flick from Emy which came off his back / shoulder and had very little power. The defender looked in a position to clear it on the far post but seemed caught in two minds as to what to do and ended up ushering the ball embarrassingly into the net.

Greshams had just about deserved the lead but Martlesham were also playing their part in a competitive game. Rob was called into action and made a brilliant save low to his right before recovering quickly to make a brave second save as the forward followed in the shot. However, from the resulting corner, Greshams scored a classic counter attacking goal. The corner was played short and as Martlesham dithered, Greshams won the ball and played it up to Chris. Chris produced a great turn to beat the defender and the set off on a characteristic dash towards goal. As he got into the area Chris looked to have taken the ball a little wide but luckily Nathan had also produced a lung busting sprint into the box. Chris picked him out with a great pass and Nathan had the very easy job of tapping the ball into the net from close range.

With the temperature rising to new highs a drinks break was taken to the relief of the tiring Greshams veterans. While on top they were by no means safe in this game. Following the drinks break Old Boys had possibly their best spell of the match and managed to pull a goal back. Greshams missed a few chances to clear, a bit of pinball ensued in the Greshams box, the ball fell to the Martlesham attacker and he lashed it high into the net giving Rob no chance.

Half time Martlesham 1 Greshams 2

With water bottles empty it was a welcome sight for Greshams when their secretary turned up accompanied by the away support in the form of season ticket holder Nana Potter. As Mike set off to get more water for the wilting Greshams players, the second half started and Martlesham were straight on the front foot, Cashen having to be alert to produce a rare clearing header. However the central defensive duo of Hamblin and Groggy were their dependable selves and Rob did not have a great deal to do. Up front for Greshams however, the half time break seemed to have given Emy a new lease of life as he was finding incredible energy to close down the defenders, win the ball back, and generally make a nuisance of himself.

However, it was the Old Boys who were able to score next and get themselves right back into the game. As they attacked down the left, Rich Minns passed on the 6 foot 2 midfielder to the diminutive Cashen. As luck would have it the left winger produced the perfect cross and there was no contest as the Martlesham midfielder rose above Cash to send a powerful header in to the net.

With the game now in the balance it was up to Greshams to respond. For a while they had to dig in and try to defend a higher line. They did this and worked their way back into the game. Emy continued to show great energy and from one of his bursts down the right, Greshams were able to re-take the lead. The Exocet showed great pace and not a little skill to get free down the right and produced a great cross which Chris had the easy job of converting from close range.

Greshams were now back on their game with Nathan, Chris and Emy threatening every time they got the ball while Heady and Rich Minns provided a great platform from midfield. Cashen rolled back the years to produce a mazy run through midfield before releasing the Exocet who on this occasion produced a typically wild left footed effort miles wide of the post. Tom was also showing flashes of skill and produced some great footwork in central midfieild before releasing Chris. However, it was Emy who was again involved as Greshams extended their lead. This time the Exocet produced a rocket propelled leap to win a great flick on which Chris was on to like a flash. As he bore down on goal there was no doubt what would happen and Chris duly produced a great finish across the keeper and in to the bottom corner.

However even with a two goal lead Greshams were not safe and as the game went from one end to the other, Martlesham were able once again to get themselves back into it. The ball was lifted into the box and from a suspiciously offside position, the Martlesham midfielder, all alone in the box, volleyed the ball into the net as the Greshams defence looked in open mouthed incredulity at their linesman / secretary. With a few minutes left, plus the extended stoppage time caused by the drinks break, it promised to be a nervous few minutes for Greshams. However they relieved the pressure by playing the ball forward and pinning Old Boys into their own half.

As the game ticked into added time, Chris produced some great hold up play on the edge of the Old Boys box before feeding the ball to Emy down the right. With Skipper Hamblin bellowing at him to β€œtake it into the corner, into the corner!!!!!!” the Exocet had other ideas. Taking a wild swipe of the right foot, he made the perfect connection and sent the ball flying high beyond the despairing dive of the keeper and into the top corner, to cap a great individual performance and seal a vital three points for the mighty Gresh.

With Feathers suffering a mauling at the hands of Cock, the result means that Greshams need only to beat Hardy-On in their penultimate fixture to be crowned Champions.

Man of the Match

In the draining heat, with a bare 11 players, this was another battling performance from Greshams and there were great performances all over the pitch. Chris added a further two goals to keep up his impressive goals to games ratio, and Nathan also continued his scoring run. However, the bubbly this week goes to the Romanian Exocet. Predictably unpredictable and lacking in awareness of the offside rule, Emy nevertheless put in a huge amount of work and despite some frustration in the first half, ended the game with two goals and two assists. Very well played indeed mate.

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